steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
My daughter suggested I get highlights, and, intrigued by the process (all those bits of foil arranged elegrantly round one's head, as if one were a fashion-conscious conspiracy theorist!) I took her advice. It made much more difference than I was expecting: at first I was pleased with the change, then doubt began to creep in, and now I'm more or less back to liking it again.

Anyway, here is me bidding a lingering au revoir to Jessie's paws, while Ganesh looks on in the background:

IMG0400A

Next time I post it should be from Tokyo!

梅雨 Diary - Preamble

Jun. 18th, 2017 07:43 am
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
I was hoping for a few days, after the end of semester marking madness, in which to relax and pack, ready for Japan, but stuff keeps coming at me from unexpected directions: an external marking package here, a PhD student's latest chapter there, a journal article to proofread somewhere else, and so on. I'm afraid to open my email now, because I really don't have any more wiggle room. I definitely shouldn't be writing this post, for example, short as it will be.

But I thought I'd share a picture of the building I'll be staying at in Tokyo - the Foreign Faculty Building of Tokyo Woman's Christian University. At least, I think this is the one:

foreign teachers building

The ground floor is a Women's Study Centre, but the top floor is mine for three weeks, which is to say I'll be the only person living there. Until a few days ago I wasn't sure whether I'd just have a room and shared kitchen, etc., student-style, but it seems I get a self-contained apartment, which is very nice.

I'll give a tour when I get there. As on my previous Japanese trips, I intend to blog this one fairly assiduously: since it's not quite a such a tourist affair this time there may be a little less prettiness to show, but I'm sure that staying in a work environment will have its own points of interest...

My visit coincides exactly with the rainy season (tsuyu, 梅雨), which isn't ideal but at least offers poetic possibilities for an LJ tag.

Periodic SWEDOW reminder.

Jun. 16th, 2017 02:50 pm
jadelennox: Demonic Tutor, Jadelennox: my Magic card (demonic tutor)
[personal profile] jadelennox
Don't give stuff.

When official voices for a charity or a cause ask for stuff, you can give stuff. Give what they request, only what they request, and in good condition. Don't give unwashed or unfolded clothes. Don't give expired or open food. Don't dump and run.

Give money. Give time. Give votes. And if you know they want your stuff, give stuff.

After Hurricane Katrina, waterlogged schools full of developing mold were inundated with donations -- of textbooks from the 1960s, torn paperbacks nobody wanted, and old national geographics. Then it became their problem to throw away someone else's unwanted stuff.

Don't make suffering people the solution to your problems about not wanting to throw unusable clothes in the trash. Don't make them the repository of your helpless survivor's guilt.

From The Guardian's liveblog of Grenfell Tower aftermath:
He added: “I haven’t seen this much aid out of a war zone, but the council just hasn’t stepped in. There is too much in the way of donations. But the problem is how to get it to the right people, and what you do with the surplus. One man, I’m sure with the best of intention, left a massive box full of milk - and now volunteers have to figure out what to do with a box of gone-off milk.”


From twitter user [twitter.com profile] pastelchalk:


We feel bad throwing things away. Find a charity that actively wants your things, or suck it up. We feel bad being okay when disasters happen. Go volunteer to help, or become an activist for those trying to prevent similar tragedies, or write a check, or suck it up. The best of intentions and a fiver will buy you a cup of coffee.

advice on advice?

Jun. 16th, 2017 02:00 pm
colorwheel: alligator king from sesame street (alligator king)
[personal profile] colorwheel
i love advice columns when they're written by someone whose worldview i like. i currently subscribe to dear prudence and captain awkward, and i love social Qs when i remember to check it. recs for additional ones? they're a good work break for me when i don't need to lie down but do need to change what my brain is doing for a few minutes.

recs could include non-contemporary ones if they offer an email subscription where they'd send me a link every day (or however often). i can't browse sites because i get sucked in forever. (which isn't bad, in fact it's fine, but nobody's paying me for it.)

if you like advice columns but didn't like dear prudence back in the day: mallory ortberg has been writing it for over a year now and she's fantastic.

[smooch for anyone who picked up the sesame reference in this post.]

Wasted on the Young

Jun. 12th, 2017 09:54 pm
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
I'm sure this point has been made elsewhere, but since everyone from Eric Pickles to the Daily Mail (and even some Labour supporters) have taken to describing the pledge to abolish university tuition fees for English students as a "bribe", I'd just like to point out that, if you want to look at it that way, corporation tax cuts are a bribe, as are the triple lock on pensions, with free TV licences, bus passes, winter fuel payments, free prescriptions, etc etc. And the NHS, of course. Why get all hoity toity about it only when the young are beneficiaries? It smacks doubly of hypocrisy when most of the people flinging this word about were the beneficiaries of free university education themselves. (I've yet to hear of any of them offering to pay the money back.)

"Bribe" is the wrong word to use in all these cases. Free education is a recognition that we all benefit from having an educated population; the NHS is a recognition that we all benefit from having a healthy population; those who advocate tax breaks do so (in most cases) because they think it will benefit the economy generally. This isn't bribery, just enlightened self-interest.

You might even think of it as paying forward some of the benefits (bribes, if you will) that you received. Or do you think your parents were profligate fools when they bribed you for your love with food, shelter, money, toys? I've no patience with that view of the world, especially when it's so selectively applied.

Tangentially (as I noted on FB the other day), Greg Mulholland's father was on Any Answers on Saturday, arguing that students should be registered to vote in their parents' constituencies rather than the university towns where they live. That way, they won't be able to gang up on poor Tory and Lib Dem candidates like Sir Julian Brazier and, er, Greg Mulholland. Hilariously, he began by saying how much he welcomed the fact that the young had decided to vote this time. He just wants to make sure that their vote won't count.

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